Thursday, November 28, 2013

Key Democratic senator says White House 'fear-mongering' on Iran

(Fox News) The Democratic chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee accused the Obama administration Wednesday of using "fear-mongering" rhetoric in urging Congress to delay new sanctions against Iran as world powers try to secure nuclear concessions from Tehran.

Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey said he would continue to push for fresh sanctions in the wake of a nuclear deal brokered in Geneva, in which Iran agrees to a six-month pause in its nuclear program in exchange for eased sanctions worth $7 billion.

Menendez, speaking on the National Public Radio program "All Things Considered," cited White House Press Secretary Jay Carney's remarks at a recent press briefing about Americans not wanting a "march to war" with Iran as over-the-top rhetoric.

"What I don't appreciate is when I hear remarks out of the White House spokesman that ... if we're pursuing sanctions we're marching the country off to war. I think that's way over the top, I think that's fear-mongering," Menendez said, according to Reuters.

Many in Congress are skeptical, if not outright hostile, to the deal reached in Geneva. Menendez and Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., are working on on legislation to reinstate the full force of sanctions and impose new ones if Iran doesn't make good on its pledge to roll back its nuclear program.

"We have to worry about the hardliners in Iran," Menendez said Wednesday. "And it seems that the Iranians get to play good cop-bad cop, (Iranian President Hassan) Rouhani as the good cop, the hardliners as the bad cop."

Menendez and Kirk hope to have their bill ready for other lawmakers to consider when the Senate returns Dec. 9 from its two-week recess, according to legislative aides.